Yesterday was a quiet Sunday morning, and before I entered the maelstrom of afternoon Men’s League soccer refereeing (it’s a war out there), I treated myself to a quiet cup of expensive foo-foo coffee. Everyone else in the house was either still sleeping or otherwise occupied and couldn’t be bothered to join me.
Just as well.
I grabbed my cup and retreated to the outside patio, which offered a perfect vantage to watch a local, in-progress 100-mile bike race. I use the word “race” very loosely, as it was distinctly clear to me that many of the participants very rarely biked or even exercised, for that matter. More than a few stopped at the intersection in front of me, got off their rides, and pretended that they were adjusting some critical component on their ride.
They weren’t fooling me. I knew they were exhausted and thinking, “How can I possibly get up another hill?” and “Why am I here?”
Their torment made me feel a bit better about myself, since when I sat down and observed the spectacle before me, my first instinct was to beat myself up thusly: “I should be out there with them, working hard, breaking a sweat, making myself stronger.”
Then when I saw how many people were barely locomoting their bedraggled
asses butts along the route, I figured: “Actually, I’m pretty happy sitting here in the sun watching these guys kill themselves.”
Thoughts (and dispositions) can be fickle.
I then turned my attention to catching up on things via the latest on-line news articles, and more out of sheer government shutdown fatigue than anything else, I clicked on a link that described the four main habits or characteristics of “wealthy” people.
“Hmmm,” I thought. “Let’s see how bad off I really am.”
There was good news and bad news.
According to the link (I guess I should reference it, but all I can remember is that it was somewhere buried on msn.com), I’m actually in fairly decent shape regarding three of the primary points. That is to say, Wealthy Muggles:
1) Tend to stay married/in a relationship with one person for a long period of time.
Check. Approaching twenty-eight years on this one.
I’m thinking if you marry and divorce a lot (whatever that means), it’s a detriment to one’s overall financial health.
2) Tend to stay in one house/dwelling for a long period of time.
Check. Approaching fourteen years in this
ramshackle modest suburban box, in which something is always broken and needs fixing.
3) Tend to not spend a lot on expensive cars and things, while saving approximately 20% of what they earn.
Sort of. I’m not sure about the percentage we save or the other tendencies, which leads me to the Bad News of Point Number Four.
4) Compared to most everyone else in this country, tend to dedicate three to four times as much energy and time to budgeting, tracking spending, and knowing exactly where all the money is going each month.
Oh, I guess we have a general idea, really.
Most of the money around here seems to go to food, gas, and the kids, and not necessarily in that order.
And I think that’s how we’re going to leave it.
Rather than worry about the Habits of the Wealthy, the article made me think of the definition of Wealth itself. For instance, there was no discussion about whether these sample people with their sample characteristics were happier than any of us Dog Scientists. Or if they had pets, or watched Downton Freaking Abbey, or gave up watching Major League Baseball in the 1990s.
As my twelve-year-old would say, “Hmmmmm?”
And at the end of the day, you can’t take any of the money with you anyway. You can spend it while you’re alive or leave it to others, but as my grandmother supposedly used to say, “There are no pockets in shrouds.”
In fact, I began to reminisce about the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life,“ and I thought there was a line in there somewhere about happiness and wealth.
After an exhausting Google search, I found the quote: “Dear George, remember no man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings, Love Clarence.” Clarence the Angel wrote that inscription in the book (Tom Sawyer) he gave to George Bailey.
I may not be wealthy but I’m not a failure, at least by the definition above. At least two of the cats in this house are friendly to me just about dinnertime.